We’re less than three weeks out from WrestleMania, and the match card is starting to get clearer. However, we’re still looking for a confirmed match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships, as well as the United States Championship. Will we get any answers tonight?

The blue brand is at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas for this week’s edition of Smackdown Live. As always, I’m @SpennyLove_WCS with your Smackdown Live preview!

Last Week’s Smackdown:

Last Tuesday’s Smackdown came in under the pressure of having to hold up to a perfectly acceptable episode the week before; while that may not sound like a huge task, it’s still nerve-wracking to have to rely on Road Dogg to put together two straight weeks of television. However, sometimes miracles do occur, and March 13th’s Smackdown was another fine edition of the blue brand on the Road to WrestleMania.

The main event segment last week went to Shane McMahon making a huge WrestleMania announcement. In fact, he made two: firstly, Shane O’Mac announced that he was stepping down as commissioner of Smackdown Live for “conduct unbecoming a commissioner”. Next, he announced in his final act as commissioner that Sami Zayn would take on his best friend Kevin Owens at the Show of Shows.

This was an unpopular move, especially amongst the French-Canadian Best Friends demographic of Smackdown Live.

Owens and Zayn beat the living hell out of Mr. O’Mac. It was the kind of beatdown that leaves even a long-time wrestling fan slightly uncomfortable. Both men took their time placing a chair around McMahon’s neck and ramming him into the ring post. Mike Kanellis ran away from catering as the two best friends dragged their former commissioner past them. A powerbomb to a set of ladders, accompanied by what can only be described as dying giraffe noises closed out the episode.

Will Daniel Bryan respond to the beating? Will the Owens/Zayn match go on as scheduled? Could we see a tag-team match made out of the situation? It’s up in the air, but more interested than I’ve been in months.

More Quick Hits:

  • Asuka made her Smackdown Live debut, with her and Charlotte Flair cutting duelling promos.
  • The Bludgeon Brothers def. Jimmy Uso & Big E after the latter challenged the former Wyatts to a match as revenge for their attack at Fastlane
  • Carmella def. Naomi
  • Randy Orton continued to be United States Champion.
  • Jinder Mahal def. Bobby Roode
  • AJ Styles def. Rusev after Aiden English interfered while Rusev was in the Calf Crusher. Shinsuke Nakamura, who was on commentary, takes his sweet time making the save.

State of the Belts:

Rumours are flying about AJ Styles potentially being injured; however, nothing has been confirmed by WWE, so we’ll proceed like everything is okay. After Styles was jumped by Rusev Day after the main event last week, Shinsuke Nakamura saved his WrestleMania opponent, promising that he would save him every week until ‘Mania so that he could – and I quote – “beat him with a knee to the face”. Badass. WWE isn’t advertising much about either superstar heading into tonight’s Smackdown, but I would assume we’ll see some sort of interaction. Maybe Styles doesn’t take the chance to save Nakamura? We’ll see.

Dylan Fry mentioned it in this week’s edition of Fry and the Guy, but Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka is one of the matches I’m most looking forward to at WrestleMania. It’s the perfect example of long-term storytelling done right in the WWE; while Asuka has been dominant throughout her entire run with the company, Charlotte is it’s prized possession. A 2nd generation wrestler, daughter of Ric Flair himself, and one of the most talented women WWE has ever seen. It’s truly a case of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. While Asuka looks to be remaining on RAW – at least until ‘Mania – could we see an appearance from the Empress of Tomorrow? Is there a chance Carmella cashes in her Money in the Bank briefcase? I certainly hope not, but stranger things have happened.

The Smackdown Live tag-team division has been a highlight of the show for months, and it keeps getting better. I thoroughly enjoyed last week’s match between the Bludgeon Brothers and the team of Big E & Jimmy Uso, not just for the match itself but the storytelling behind it. E, especially, has been on fire as of late, toning down his goofy side and establishing himself as a true badass. However, the two men were no match for Harper & Rowan, being dispatched of relatively quickly for a team consisting of the past two tag-team titleholders. I’m sure they’ll be added to a championship match at WrestleMania; tonight, we continue to establish how that happens.

I’ll continue to not talk about the United States Championship until it doesn’t involved Randy Orton or Jinder Mahal. It pains me not to say anything about Bobby Roode, but this feud has been less than, well, Glorious.

Here and There:

@TDESeps

It’s starting to look more and more like Rusev Day will go the way of Bad News Barrett and Damien Sandow as completely missed opportunities by WWE. While it’s encouraging to still see both Rusev and Aiden English getting consistent TV time, I’m disappointed that it’s mostly been used as enhancement talent for both Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles. Sure, he technically didn’t lose by pinfall or submission last Tuesday – but does that honestly matter? This is a man who held an undefeated streak for the better part of a year after his debut, and has organically made himself the most over guy on Tuesday nights. Let’s hope that WWE recognizes what it has sooner rather than later.

Three Things to Watch For:

  • We saw The Revival become the first individuals declare for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal; could we see more superstars begin to enter? My early bet for first entrant from Smackdown? Baron Corbin.
  • Speaking of battle royals, do we see our first female superstar declare for the WrestleMania Battle Royal? More importantly, do we ever have WWE admit that this isn’t the first-ever Women’s Battle Royal at WrestleMania
  • Give me Tye Dillinger, or give me death! Well, maybe not, but where’s the Perfect 10?

That’s it, that’s all! You watching tonight, Win Column’ers? Let us know your thoughts on tonight’s episode in the comments section, or tweet us at @WCSportsCA!

WWE Last 5:
Smackdown Live Preview: March 20
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Spencer Love

Once stood in front of Cedric Alexander in line at a hotel. Slightly big deal.

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